Police suspect Oliver Bridgeman may be fighting in Syria.
Police suspect Oliver Bridgeman may be fighting in Syria. Contributed

Toowoomba Islamic group condemns religious violence

AN ISLAMIC group in Toowoomba has strongly condemned any acts of using religion to commit violence in the wake of revelations that a Toowoomba teenager is suspected to be in Syria and may have joined the Al-Nusra group.

In a statement released today the Islamic Interfaith and Multicultural Association of Toowoomba said such acts contradicted the teachings of Islam.

"We must be vigilant domestically and taking swift action to neutralise threats to Toowoomba, or people who may get themselves in trouble especially our youths," the group's president Syed Ghazaly Al-Qudsi said.

Mr Al-Qudsi said he wanted to convey to the Muslim community and especially the youths, that the fighting in Syria was not for religious purposes and he cautioned Muslims against being swayed into any form of violence.

He said the group strongly supported the government's initiatives in combating radicalism.

The organisation plans to combat extremism in Toowoomba and will undertake a number of initiatives.

"We would like to gather as many youths as possible including their parents to participate in our programs," Mr Al-Qudsi said.

"We strongly believe this must also be the responsibility of the community particularly the Muslims as they would be the best position to educate their youth," Mr Al-Qudsi said.

"To this end, as a responsible association, we have embarked on a series of initiatives to bring Muslims into the main stream and be responsible citizens of Australia."

"We have to work together and be open with each other and share and come close, these are the things that we can do in Toowoomba and we can prevail.

"However, eradicating radicalism is a long-term fight, and we have to continue doing it."

Mr Al-Qudsi said initiatives would include setting up the Young Muslim Wing and the Women's Wing.

"The association has also drawn out an action plan towards promoting greater social trust in our diverse community," he said.

The group will continue to work closely with the Goodwill Committee Toowoomba, Pure Land Learning College Association, Anglican Parish of St Luke,

The society's stated aims are to promote peace, love and the spirit of compassion to all.